Another summer is heading to the hills… That means that winter is coming to Montreal and many of my friends in England, Australia and anywhere else where the sun will keep shining past five in the evening wonder why I am still here. Why put up with the cold, the ice you don’t always see until it is under your back, the loss of mobility and the unending snow?
Good questions, but let me point out that I live in Montreal, a city that knows that it will get cold and knows how to live with it. Other Canadian cities try and hardly succeed the way this fair island does. So, I will stay and love whatever comes with the later months of the year.
Maybe that is not enough. Maybe you are still asking yourself why I do not move to another Canadian city; a city that has developed an international reputation and an economic environment that is friendlier to someone with very pre-intermediate French skills. And I guess that city would be Toronto, right? Why not? It has everything that we are supposed to expect from a large metropolis and it is not nearly as cold as Montreal.
Now, the analysis that I am creating here allows me to avoid making some of the obvious comparisons between the two towns that I am expected to make, like comparing Toronto to Montreal is like comparing Los Angeles to New York (that one I do not mind); like comparing apples to applesauce (a bit weak); or finally the Police with Sting solo on an album playing a lute (draw your own conclusions about that one). But there is one comparison I think I can get away with, if I explain everything carefully.
Imagine that you are a man who has just arrived in a new town and you are in a local bar. There are two women in the joint who are quite different from each other. The first woman is wearing a very expensive dress, a new well-coiffed head of hair, and all the jewelry, make-up and lipstick that anyone would want in one round. Everything is pushed or pulled into place to make the package an inviting one.
You pay a lot of attention to this woman. You like what you see. But you may finally notice that this woman is trying too hard to grab any attention she can find (she needs validation). She fulfills every desperate and grasping stereotype of a woman on the make who is trying to overcompensate for something missing in her life.
The second woman is attractive without trying too hard to be so. She is also friendly if she wants to be, not if she has to be, and never just to get a man interested. She knows why you are there and may even end up buying you a drink. She will speak any language she chooses, is not too dressed up or worried about her hair, and will often be with a friend (if it is a boyfriend, her body language and general attitude will let you know as much). There is no pressure to take her home, or even get her phone number (and it does not matter because just being there has made your night). And if she really does not want to talk to you, someone else will soon be along who definitely will want to hear what you have to say.
Now, which woman do you think represents Toronto, and which one represents Montreal?
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You can find more poems, stories, and articles by Kendall Defoe on my Vocal profile. I complain, argue, provoke and create...just like everybody else.
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